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No. 2 Virginia men’s tennis dominates Virginia Tech in Commonwealth Clash

The Cavaliers defeated the Hokies on the road Wednesday afternoon

<p>The Cavaliers pose with the Commonwealth Clash sign after defeating the Hokies 6-1 Wednesday.&nbsp;</p>

The Cavaliers pose with the Commonwealth Clash sign after defeating the Hokies 6-1 Wednesday. 

Virginia men’s tennis traveled to Blacksburg Wednesday to face off against Virginia Tech in the Commonwealth Clash. The No. 2 Cavaliers (17-4, 9-0 ACC) had no problem remaining undefeated in conference play in their match with the Hokies (9-8, 2-7 ACC), earning a 6-1 victory and extending their winning streak to nine matches.

Doubles play opened at 3 p.m. and started strong for Virginia, with senior Chris Rodesch and graduate student Edoardo Graziani winning their match 6-3 on court three. Virginia Tech fought back, however, defeating senior Jeffrey von der Schulenburg and freshman Dylan Dietrich 4-6 on court two to even the doubles score.

The doubles point came down to the top court, where graduate student James Hopper and senior Iñaki Montes de la Torre— a duo that is currently ranked No. 6 in the nation — were facing senior Ryan Fishback and junior Maxime St. Hilaire. Hopper and Montes managed to clinch the victory with a 6-4 win, giving the Cavaliers their first — and certainly not last — point of the matchup.

With the score at 1-0, singles play opened on the courts. Senior Alexander Kiefer had a standout performance and won his match on court five in two straight sets. Kiefer finished before any of the other courts were finished with their first sets, winning 6-1, 6-1 to give Virginia its second point. 

Rodesch was the next to finish and also won in straight sets, going 6-3, 6-3 on the top court to keep Virginia Tech off the scoreboard. Rodesch is currently ranked No. 6 nationally, and his performance Wednesday proved he is deserving of that position.

Similarly to other conference faceoffs in the past, the rest of the matchups on the singles courts were tighter and had the possibility of going either way. On courts two, three and six, the Hokies won the first sets, meaning that Cavaliers would have to take the second set in order to have a chance to win the point.

On court three, Dietrich managed to win the second set 7-5 to force a third and deciding set. In the third set, Dietrich made sure that the score was not as close, dominating 6-2 to clinch the winning point and make the overall score 4-0. 

Schulenburg finished just minutes after Dietrich with a victory of his own, recovering from dropping his first set 4-6 to win 6-1 and 6-4 on court two and making the score 5-0. Sophomore Måns Dahlberg — after managing to beat his opponent 11-9 in the first set — won his match on court four after winning the tiebreaker of the second set 8-6, pushing the Virginia lead to 6-0.

Graziani’s match on court six was the last to finish and was as much of a nailbiter as the other singles matches. After dropping the first set 4-6, Graziani bounced back to win the second set 6-4. In the end, the tiebreaking set required a tiebreaker of its own. After going back and forth for most of the faceoff, Graziani was defeated by junior Alberto Orso 9-11 in the last set, bringing the final score of the Commonwealth Clash to 6-1 in favor of the Cavaliers.

Coach Andres Pedroso reflected happily on his team’s performance and contribution to Virginia’s side of the in-state rivalry with Virginia Tech, noting the difficulty of playing in the chilly Blacksburg weather. 

“I’m really proud of this team — we had tough conditions today,” Pedroso said. “It was cold and windy, and I felt like our guys handled it really well. There were certain spots where we were in some holes, and they just found ways to be patient with themselves and beat the conditions.” 

Despite Graziani being the only Virginia player to lose a match Wednesday, Pedroso specifically highlighted his performance.

“I’m really proud of Eddy Graziani for the way he competed out there at the end,” Pedroso said. “The way our team cheered him on just shows our culture is really strong, and it was a really good moment for our program.”

Virginia will return home to host Boston College Sunday at noon for another conference match as well as the team’s Senior Day. The Eagles have yet to win an ACC match and the Cavaliers have yet to lose one, so Virginia will be confident about its chances this weekend.


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